Chris Williams

What is "Little" work experience classed as for Traineeships



We are having an issue with the word "Little" work experience in guidance, as in under audit what "little" would be justified...??

2 weeks, 2 months, 6 months, 12 months..etc. When is it not classed as "little" work experience and the trainee become ineligible for the provision.

We don't want to enroll learners and then find under audit that say 12 months work experience in ESFA eyes is not little..




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Martin West

There is no binary answer to this, it is down to the Providers informed judgement considering all the other aspects of the eligibility requirements of a traineeship and attaining an outcome within 6 months.

Chris Williams

Hi Martin

Thanks for your reply. Yes appreciate there is no binary answer as you describe, but if we internally apply a tolerance/judgment (be that 6 months/12 months) with all the other criteria as part of eligibility requirements, and the ESFA audit us and say "12 months work experience is too much"? This is what we don't want to fall foul of. Ideally some form of guidance is given to say x to x months is approximately agreeable, but x months is too much and wont be accepted.

Thanks again!!


Martin West

You cannot apply an internal tolerance to this, what we know from the framework for delivery is:

  1. The core target group for traineeships in 2020 to 2021 will be young people who, regardless of their background:
  • are not currently in full-time employment and have little work experience, but who are focused on work or the prospect of it.
  • are age 16 to 24 and qualified up to and including a full Level 35, and
  • providers and employers believe they have a reasonable chance of being ready for an apprenticeship or other employment within 6 months of completing a traineeship.
  1. Traineeships are not intended for:
  • the most disengaged young people, who require very intensive support.
  • those who already have the qualifications, skills and experience needed to start an apprenticeship or find work; or
  • those already in employment.

The funding rules state ‘little or no work experience’ the no work experience is simple but the ‘little’ is subjective as those with some work experience may still require specific work preparation training, English and maths, ESOL, digital skills or a Flexible element to remove any barrier to them entering work.

As the work placement element is only intended to last for between 2 to 8 weeks I would consider that ‘little work’ experience would not be longer than this and that 6/12 months would be too much excepting if you can evidence an individual need other than the work placement.

For Audit you only need evidence why your judgement of the level of previous work experience was made and in line with the aims of a Traineeship.

Each case should be based on the individual.

Chris Williams

Thanks for this Martin we will take this on board.

In terms of justification/rational etc for the decision on accepting a learner onto programme who has had previous work experience. Is there an expectation from the ESFA of a certain level of detail in the narrative that would be expected to be seen.. In others words would the ESFA expect or be happy with a couple of lines as long as its to the point and explains. Or would they expect to see on a learning plan say, a lot of content explaining why we were happy to take them onboard.